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Letters to the Editor

Sat., May 21, 2011, midnight

Casino a threat to base

The proposed Spokane Tribe casino raises a critical concern about the long-term future for Fairchild Air Force Base and the threat of encroachment.

Fairchild AFB is the largest employer and economic driver in Spokane County, having a total impact of over $421 million a year. Encroachment is a real threat to military bases everywhere they exist, and bases have closed across the country due to issues such as this. I have seen this first-hand and have had many conversations with experts on land use around Fairchild.

Discussions I have had with members of earlier Base Realignment and Closure Commissions indicate the base’s future can be tied to its ability for future expansion and mission changes.

Comments of FAA approval for this proposed project are misleading. All buildings have to meet FAA height requirements. That has nothing to do with base encroachment and the very real risk a 13-story hotel, casino and event center across the street from the base poses. Development so close to the base could create a long-term problem that may prevent future expansion of Fairchild in the out years as missions change and forces collocate.

Tom Pauley

Chief master sergeant, USAF, retired


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